How The Weekly Shop has changed
When was the last time you headed to the supermarket with the intention of getting in your groceries for the week?
There are many people still shopping this way of course, but heading to the local Tesco or Aldi to do a large weekly shop, seems to have changed for many of us. Shopping habits have evolved over the past few years and these have been driven by a few factors. However, since the Coronavirus pandemic has descended on us, many of us are making more trips to our supermarket than ever!
It’s one of the only places that is open! As restrictions come and go, so to does our hankering to get out of the house for any reason we can find. ‘I’ll go!’ seems to have a familiar refrain in every household whenever there is a mention of the milk running low and there only being 2 loaves of bread in the house.
The late opening of almost all of our main supermarkets has been the case for years, as has Sunday opening (Dunnes being the last one to cave here!).
Home deliveries are becoming more efficient, increasing the regular use of the service, not to mention being particularly popular for those living in cities without a need for a car.
Changes in work schedules and an increased number of people working from home means that many of us not necessarily working a 9 to 5 routine. Engaging in the habitual Thursday evening or Saturday morning trip to the supermarket has become a thing that I now only remember doing with my mother (and begging to keep the pound coin from the trolley afterward!)
But another trend is driving this change. As we become more environmentally aware, our challenge to find ethically sourced, organic, ‘clean’ foods with little or no packaging, has been met (albeit slowly) by companies springing up across the country offering us alternatives. Thanks to the increased and growing pressure on our supermarkets to follow more sustainable practices when it comes to our food supplies, there is now an ever-increasing list of options available to us when heading for ‘the weekly shop’.
We have outlined a few local initiatives and stores across the country below, but first, we wanted to bring you some research into what a few of our main supermarket chains are doing, so you can see who is working towards providing a better, more environmentally friendly food supply.
What’s happening at our supermarkets?:
Aldi has committed to ensuring that 100% of their own-label packaging will be recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2022 and that they will achieve a 50% reduction in packaging overall across their own-label products by 2025.
Aldi Ireland also works with FoodCloud, a not-for-profit social enterprise in Ireland with the aim of addressing the problem of food waste and food poverty. Aldi stores donate surplus food to charities and community organisations around the country.
A Better tomorrow is what Lidl has been shouting about lately and it appears to sum up their commitment to sustainability. Late last year, Lidl said it was also planning to stop selling single-use plastics like those for fruit and veg.
Lidl Ireland also appears to be leading the way in developing energy-efficient stores. Initiatives include Solar panels, rain harvesting and E-Car charge points for employees at some of their stores. They have also launched the Kickstart program, developed in conjunction with Bord Bia, which aims to give Irish food and drink suppliers the chance to showcase their products in all 153 Lidl stores all across the country.
The Irish supermarket chain appears to be taking its commitment to sustainability quite seriously, with a few initiatives underway. They have introduced compostable produce bags in the fruit and veg section, with a view to making them available across the entire store network.
Compostable coffee cups for Frank and Honest (takeaway coffee available at Supervalu, and now available to take home)
have been introduced, where cups can be organically recycled in commercial composting facilities before being converted
into renewable energy or fertiliser.
Black plastic trays from 38 fruit & vegetable products have either been removed or replaced with recyclable alternatives and we will continue to remove or replace black plastic trays from fruit & vegetable products.
Additionally, SuperValu has been a proud sponsor of the TidyTowns competition for 28 years.
And here are some local stores that we would like to champion here at Wasted.ie